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Crested Cacti

The tall, columnar shape of the saguaro cactus is familiar to any desert traveler. But very rarely (about only one plant in 10,000), a saguaro will grow with a fan-shaped crest of uncontrolled growth at the tip. These oddities of the plant kingdom are known as cristate (or crested) saguaros. The deformity also occurs in other species of cactus, such as the organ pipe and barrel cactus. Science has not yet fully explained why this mutation occurs; perhaps it is caused by frost damage, although many other explanations have been offered.

If you ever happen upon one of these, remember that you are seeing something rare and special.

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6 responses

  1. Wow, I certainly learned something this morning. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this oddity. Now I’m on the lookout!

    June 4, 2011 at 4:28 AM

  2. Wow that is really amazing. I was nice to see all the cacti last weekend.

    June 4, 2011 at 9:19 PM

  3. Nancy

    You are such a fountain of knowledge. That’s one of the things I love about you. You have a very inquisitive mind. I’ll be looking for these from now on too!

    June 5, 2011 at 8:57 AM

  4. Great pics! That is really interesting… didn’t know that about the cacti. πŸ™‚ Thanks for following my adventures in Europe.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:44 PM

  5. it looks a bit like a moose…or brocoli…

    June 6, 2011 at 6:21 AM

  6. You found some fascinating crested saguaros. They are so rare, I love seeing them. πŸ™‚

    June 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM